Thursday, October 20, 2011

Got milk?

I’ve been on a quest of sorts lately, one with no clear path or objective… basically I’ve been running around with no rhyme nor purpose, trying to find something to make me feel better and I ended up fixating on food. Food to make me feel better, food to help the husband get better and food to make us all healthier – a tall order one would say. 

In my typical haphazard manner I landed on the concept of “real food”. Real food is a terrible moniker if ever there was one, in my opinion, but it’s established, recognizable, and easily searchable if you’re so inclined so that’s how I will refer to it henceforth. So, to give you an idea of what in tarnation I’m talking about I’m going to borrow the words of one of my favorite blogs on the subject: Cheeseslave in answer to the question “What is a real foodie?”: “A “real foodie” is someone who cooks “traditional” food. We cook stuff from scratch using real ingredients, like raw milk, grass-fed beef, eggs from chickens that run around outdoors, whole grains, sourdough and yogurt starters, mineral-rich sea salt, and natural sweeteners like honey and real maple syrup.
We don’t use modern foods that are either fake, super-refined, or denatured. This includes modern vegetable oils like Crisco and margarine, soy milk, meat from factory farms, pasteurized milk from cows eating corn and soybeans, refined white flour, factory-made sweeteners like HFCS or even refined white sugar, or commercial yeast. We believe in eating wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that come from nature. So we shop at farmer’s markets or buy direct from the farmer, or we grow food in our own backyards.”
I’m not exactly a “real foodie” according to the definition above, but I already had a tendency towards this way of eating and now I’m simply looking into it more deeply and trying to apply it more thoroughly. I’ll delve into the subject better in the future but instead of proselytizing (there are many blogs who do so far better than I ever could, so I’ll start listing them here and in future posts for your reference) I’ve decided to just jump right in and talk about the practical aspect of it from my point of view.

It took me awhile to wrap my head around the concept of real food, and I’m yet learning a lot about it, but it makes sense to me, and though I’m not proposing foregoing junk food in my life forever, I am now, at least, making a conscious effort to recognize it as such and to make a cursory effort to avoid it as much as I possibly can.

In any case, today what I really want to talk about is milk. I’ve always been a milk hater. Until recently I hadn’t drunk milk since… well I don’t remember, but a very young age. Milk - the smell, the texture of milk has always pretty much disgusted me. If you’re heating milk on the stove I have to leave the room cause it makes me gag. Yes, that bad. But then Nina Planck turned me onto the wonders of raw milk (from grass-fed, free to roam and pasture, happy and contented cows) and I had to test it because, seems that raw milk is to pasteurized milk what a cow is to outer space. So I went searching for it, thinking it would be a long and arduous quest as apparently in the US it’s frowned upon, much like marijuana is frowned upon. Not so where I live, one not only need not search very far it’s perfectly legal (unlike, alas, marijuana) and quite conveniently sold in places such as this:

Just a regular storefront.

Where you are greeted by them:

(just in case you where wondering exactly where it comes from and what it’s primary purpose is)

All manner of informative material awaits you:
What cows eat, do and become.

The sign on the left shows some of the things you can do with raw milk.

As apparently does a fair savings as a liter of milk costs about one euro (not the lowest price out there but on the lower spectrum of supermarket prices).

You can bring your own glass bottles or buy the plastic ones there for 0.20cents (shown above). And next to the milk dispenser there's a sign stating when the cows were milked and when it expires. (There's also a sign that encourages you to boil it before drinking it, but we drink it raw - except for the husband who's immune system is suppressed)

The process is easy, convenient and unbelievably sanitary:
milk dispenser

you stick your bottle in and close the door and the blue light apparently keeps things sterile, though, of course, you're responsible for the cleanliness of your own bottle.

you put in the amount of money you want depending on how much milk you need - 1€ for 1 lt,  50cents for half a litre, 20cents for 200ml - doesn't matter how much, and then you press start and the milk starts a'flowin'.


and a-flowin'

then you take your bottle out

cap it and admire the results of your labor.

They also serve other raw milk products like yoghurts (which are objectively much tastier than anything I've ever bought at the grocery store), mozzarella, ricotta cheese and the like.

cheeses and stuff

lovely yoghurts

And it all comes from a farm near here, I haven't visited it yet, but I will soon. So now we’re hooked. I even drink the stuff myself though I still prefer it in other forms (like butter, cream, yoghurt, and cheese), and, just in case you were wondering, it tastes and smells nothing like pasteurized, homogenized milk. 

Would you ever consider drinking raw milk?

Just a few of the many, many resources to learn more about real food (in no particular order):


  1. I like milk. A lot. What is the difference in taste? I'm afraid I would miss regular milk.

  2. There is a latte crudo vending machine near me which has always intrigued me but I've been put off by the lack of pasteurising - now my kids are over 2 maybe it's time to give it a try................but not me, I'd have to be dying of thirst for milk to pass my lips!

  3. Wow, that's one thing we are missing in Manhattan! Love it!

  4. I get you, but it tastes better than regular milk. Although I would really suggest that you research the farm that provides your vending machine! The likelihood of there being harmful bacteria in raw milk is pretty low (lower than we would be led to believe) but it does exist (as for most foods) so doing your due diligence is important. Apart from that it really is better for you than pasteurized milk - provided that the cows are grass fed and get to roam around in a field occasionally - so it's worth the little bit of extra effort. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I know, it's pretty awesome! 

  6. I honestly can't tell you what the difference in taste is as to me regular milk tastes gross and raw milk doesn't... my husband says there's not a big difference, though I have read that it tastes slightly different depending on what the cows are eating like in the summer when they eat mostly grass it's different from the winter when they eat mostly hay. Though you could just try it and see if you like it... do y'all have cows up in alaska?? ;-)

  7. These pictures are so cool!!  I live in CA and drink raw milk.  We purchase it from Organic Pastures and I always feel very safe when buying it because the state is just waiting for someone to get sick so they can shut down (and make illegal) the sales of raw milk in the state.  But good luck with that.  The state ends up putting the milk through so many tests that it always tests cleaner than pasteurized milk.  But that makes sense to me being that most dairy farms in CA now are mass-produced milk farms where the cows never see grass and stand in their own poop all day.  Ewww!

    Anyway, the reason these pictures excite me is because someday I plan on moving to Italy and I have often wondered where I would get my raw milk.  I can't live without it.  It is so good!  I went through a 25 year period in my life where I never touched milk.  It just tasted nasty to me.  Then I read about the taste and nutrition of raw milk and gave it a try.  I am so glad I did !  It is that good and I can't imagine ever having to go to bed without my nightly glass of milk.......with cookies, of course!

    Keep showing us pics of Italy!  I love it!  Be well!